Statement on the “Governance and Constitutional Review report”

Internal governance


I hope you have had a chance to read our Governance and Constitutional review report, and to look at the ISSUES and proposals.

As I have said in the introduction – some may agree with all, some or none of our suggestions, but I hope you will look at these objectively, and apply the test we have tried to apply- improving our Democracy, Accountability and Transparency.

As our present SHA Chair said at the CC – our current arrangements are ‘not fit for purpose “.

We welcomed the Chairs initial response when he met with us (which we circulated to CC in our first draft) when he said “I welcome the structured approach and the open invitations to participate; the right issues are identified. I have followed the approach which I commend” [With regard to this latter point we have drawn up new Standing Orders]

Following   the Chairs report  on the website, I felt it might be helpful for members  to clarify a few points with regard to the Governance Group:

  1. The Group was properly mandated and constituted by the Central Council, to whom two drafts were circulated.
  2. The Chair advised the Central Council that it was for me to decide as Chair who would sit on the Group. I deliberately included two women CC members, and also a geographical spread of members. Backgrounds of the Group members were circulated to all the SHA. We were fortunate to have members experienced in many fields –  including serving Cllrs, A Professor and former Special Adviser, and others with Health experience.
  3. EVERY single member of the ENTIRE SHA was circulated with the outline themes and areas of our review, and had one month to respond to us by post, email or phone call.
  4. Our first draft to all the Central Council included all comments received from members and CC, which were anonymised, with the exception of the current Chair, as he wished.
  5. The current Chair met with us personally on one occasion, (and was unable to make a second meeting) and made two written submissions; The Director met with us twice and made a written submission. The previous Chair also made a submission.  We also looked at all the constitutions of other Socialist Societies, what was good practice and common sense.
  6.  Our published report has been deliberately de-personalised, to focus on what we agreed were actual problems, weaknesses and solutions. Our report we think reflects this.
  7. We have heard from the outgoing Chair –“it has to be in the Constitution” for anything to happen (though this isn’t technically the case – as we should also be ruled by policies and protocols), and this is one reason for the number of constitutional amendments, as well as tying these into recommendations.
  8. Our report has shone a light on some areas whilst hitherto possibly obscure and unnoticed but never the less important.  It has clearly produced a reaction in some quarters, but we are really puzzled as to what can be objected to in the totality of our proposals –please look at these as a coherent whole.
  9. In effect we have partially produced a “ Refounding Labour” document – we want more involvement by members, sharper Policy making processes, more active officers, and a wider involvement by Central Council members in this and other areas. Above all we feel these will give us greater Democracy, Accountability and Transparency.
  10. We welcome debate and discussion of our proposals at the AGM and hope you will support them.

Harry Clarke, BA, M.Sc. FRSM; FRSPH

Chair, SHA Governance & Constitutional Review Group